Cultural Enterprise Office (CEO) 'is a not-for-profit service providing access to free business support services. They help creative individuals and micro-businesses build the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. They do this by providing specialist advice and information, as well as running programmes and events'.
I have been lucky enough to benefit from CEO support by attending several mentoring sessions and specialist workshops. They have been a real driving force behind my recent developments and have armed me not only with useful information on business strategies but they have injected the confidence I needed in this fickle industry.
Last month, they awarded me a travel grant to visit the fashion trade shows in Paris with a view to exhibiting my own range in Paris soon.
First stop was Premier Classe and Who's next, both located at the Porte de Versailles exhibition centre.
It was interesting to note that I found very few menswear brands exhibiting at Premier Classe and Who's Next despite both being huge shows.
Next I went to Tranoi, 'an artistic platform that gathers and curates the very best of avant-garde and progressive designers as well as contemporary and leading brands, and puts them in the hands of the most influential players in the fashion industry'.
There was an exciting luxe vibe at Tranoi - as soon as you entered the beautiful classical building on the lush red carpet, you were met by over sized vases of exotic flowers and scents from the perfume exhibitors. There was a quietly polite but constant buzzy murmur in the hall with extremely well dressed buyers (lots of patent wedges and long cashmere coats) from around the world eagerly placing orders.
It appeared that the buyers already knew the brands as the stands themselves had very little, if any, branding on them. I suspect the buyers had received private invitations to view new collections, the brands therefore, not in their infancy. I now have my goal.
And then on to Capsule. Again a busy show and I was told by the exhibitors that plenty orders were being taken. Most of the exhibitors had just shown at Milan and were going over to New York as soon as Paris had closed. I was told it was important to show at all three to gather momentum.
Then a quick scurry around the inspiring city looking street art and
some of the classic sites before heading back to Edinburgh with a head full of plans...
Many thanks to CEO for sending me on this 'Go See' trip, it has been an important step in the brands development.